Two grand final wins were scrubbed out due to the salary cap rort, they were defeated twice at the "big dance" (2006 and 2016) and had also lost several preliminary finals over the years.
But there are also plenty of big futures collects riding on a North Queensland Cowboys upset. You've made me a ten-times better player.
But like all good things in Melbourne, they come in threes, and a try on the stroke of half-time to Slater after a crucial, yet avoidable, error from Antonio Winterstein helped the Storm to what would prove an unassailable 18-0 lead.
But this time, there was no coming back.
Overwhelming favorites before the match, the Storm wore the Cowboys down for 20 minutes before Josh Addo-Carr broke through for the first try of the match.
That experienced trio, Jesse Bromwich and centre Will Chambers are the only players in the Storm side remaining from their 2012 grand final winning side.
Whatever their decisions, the match marked the end of an era, with the Big Three of Slater, Cronk and Storm captain Cameron Smith to be broken up.
Kaufusi was the next to cross, after Billy Slater set him up off a set play. Play was stopped for nearly 10 minutes before Fensom was stretchered with a broken leg.
The Cowboys, if they were to spring an upset of enormous proportions, needed Melbourne to have an off day. But Melbourne are not the best defensive side in the NRL for nothing, and they were content to give away penalty after penalty.
The Cowboys scored early in the second half, as they had to. Cronk pulled the strings from the halves while Smith, racked up the most metres of a forward in the contest while Slater completed the fairytale comeback.
"To win the Clive Churchill after what he's gone through (with injury) is simply outstanding".
"Cameron Munster and Tim Glasby will run out for the Melbourne Storm while North Queensland Cowboys hooker Jake Granville and Gavin Cooper will run out in blue and yellow". It knew it had won.
Rising star Curtis Scott, just 19, then bagged the first of what could be many grand final tries, before Addo-Carr added further gloss to the scoreline for the Storm, ending a wonderful team move highlighted by Tohu Harris' long-distance pass out wide. Walker said he expected Craig Bellamy's men to target their attack against a couple of weak points in the Cowboys defence. "Full credit to Melbourne - they've had an outstanding year - and they were at their clinical best tonight". For all their awesome achievements for the Storm, Queensland and the Kangaroos, Smith, Cronk and Slater only had one NRL ring before last night.
And now they have.
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